St. Vincent

"Excellent"

St. Vincent Review


Bill Murray shines in this story of a cynical grump whose life is changed by his friendship with a bright young kid. Writer-director Theodore Melfi makes an assured debut with this hilariously astute, emotional punchy drama, which may sometimes feel a bit over-planned but gives the audience plenty to think about. And along with Murray, the film has especially strong roles for Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and promising newcomer Jaeden Lieberher.

It's set in a New York suburb, where the neighbourhood grouch Vincent (Murray) is already having a bad day when he discovers meets the perky family next door: Maggie (McCarthy) and her curious son Oliver (Lieberher). She has just fled from her unfaithful husband (Scott Adsit) and is working extra hours to make ends meet, so she reluctantly agrees to let Oliver stay at Vincent's house after school. Intriguingly, Oliver is one of the few people Vincent can bear to be around, aside from the pregnant Russian stripper Daka (Watts) and his lively cat Felix. And Oliver is like a sponge, happily soaking up Vincent's knowledge about things like swearing, fighting and betting on the horses. Oliver has no real idea that all of this makes Vincent a seriously unsuitable role model.

Yes, the central point is that good people are sometimes hard to spot. Vincent may smoke, swear, gamble and hang out with hookers, but he also has a deep soul that Oliver witnesses in the way he takes care of Daka, or how he regularly visits his wife in a nursing home even though she has long forgotten who he is. Melfi makes the most of this perspective, seeing everything through the eyes of perceptive young actor Lieberher. And Murray shines in a role that adds clever shadings to the actor's usual on-screen bluster. The interaction between Oliver and Vincent snaps with personality, and sharp roles for McCarthy and Watts offer meaningful wrinkles, as do other side characters such as Chris O'Dowd's schoolteacher.

The film's one wrong step is to introduce a subplot involving a loan shark (Terrence Howard) who threatens Vincent but never adds much in the way of meaning or suspense. This kind of betrays the deliberate structure of Melfi's script, which pushes all of the right buttons on cue. But the dialogue is so well-written that it overcomes these limitations, and in the hands of such an engaging cast, the film really gets under the skin. It's great to be reminded how quickly we dismiss people who are a little different from us, that appearances are usually misleading and that sometimes it's the most annoying person we know who loves us the most.



St. Vincent

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th October 2014

Box Office USA: $39.3M

Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

Production compaines: Chernin Entertainment, The Weinstein Company, Crescendo Productions, Goldenlight Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 110 Rotten: 35

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Theodore Melfi

Producer: Peter Chernin, , Theodore Melfi,

Starring: as Vincent, as Maggie, as Daka, as Brother Geraghty, as Zucko, Jaeden Lieberher as Oliver, Kimberly Quinn as Nurse Ana, as Coach Mitchell, Nate Corddry as Terry, Dario Barosso as Ocinski, as Sandy, as Shirley, Sunnyside Administrator, Katharina Damm as Starlet, as David, Alyssa Ruland as Student, Alexandra Fong as Rachele, as Teller #23

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